Location

Engel 223

Event Website

http://www.cpe.vt.edu/cuenr/index.html

Start Date

27-3-2010 8:30 AM

End Date

27-3-2010 9:00 AM

Description

I would like to conduct a facilitated forum, with participation from various NR programs to address the question of the title. The premise is that first year and transfer students entering natural resources curricula do so because they are hands‐on learners, are attracted to activities occurring in the outdoors, and have limited patience with typical lecture formats for learning. The issue is how we engage and retain NR students so they prosper in our programs. In this forum, I would like to pose a variety of scenarios and elicit responses from participants concerning their experiences about varied formats for conducting an introductory course in natural resources. I have an experimental model to propose but welcome insights to improve its potential impact. At North Carolina State University, the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources decided to experiment with this model, tossing out any introductory textbook and ditching standard talking heads lectures in favor of sending students out weekly to explore the campus environment and their latent understanding of some key issues. We instituted a structure for each topical segment that included three components:  Definition: making explicit how each problem can be understood through questions that spur inquiry into identifiable realms of knowledge  Discovery: examining assumptions upon which the questions are based, identifying which subjects could yield answers and which methods of inquiry should be relevant for answering the questions  Documentation: communicating findings of the team’s investigative processes in appropriate forms for the variety of audiences likely to be concerned and engaged with each environmental challenge. We worried less about content retention than student retention at this stage, but test results suggest students retained salient content. Course evaluations are not yet in, nearing semesters’ end, but anecdotal results are encouraging and bear further examination to see if we really have whetted our students’ appetites for persisting our subject areas of study: forest management, fisheries and wildlife, natural resources and environmental technology. Structurally, the forum would (1) briefly present several potential scenarios for introductory courses, (2) break participants into groups to discuss pros and cons of approaches, and (3) facilitate a cumulative assessment of potential impacts of the approaches. Probable time commitment: 1.5 hours.

Comments

Citation: Blank, G.B. 2010. What should an introduction to natural resources course do?. UENR Biennial Conference, Session Innovations in Pedagogy, Course Design, Paper Number 3. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Courses/3/

 
Mar 27th, 8:30 AM Mar 27th, 9:00 AM

What Should an Introduction to Natural Resources Course Do?

Engel 223

I would like to conduct a facilitated forum, with participation from various NR programs to address the question of the title. The premise is that first year and transfer students entering natural resources curricula do so because they are hands‐on learners, are attracted to activities occurring in the outdoors, and have limited patience with typical lecture formats for learning. The issue is how we engage and retain NR students so they prosper in our programs. In this forum, I would like to pose a variety of scenarios and elicit responses from participants concerning their experiences about varied formats for conducting an introductory course in natural resources. I have an experimental model to propose but welcome insights to improve its potential impact. At North Carolina State University, the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources decided to experiment with this model, tossing out any introductory textbook and ditching standard talking heads lectures in favor of sending students out weekly to explore the campus environment and their latent understanding of some key issues. We instituted a structure for each topical segment that included three components:  Definition: making explicit how each problem can be understood through questions that spur inquiry into identifiable realms of knowledge  Discovery: examining assumptions upon which the questions are based, identifying which subjects could yield answers and which methods of inquiry should be relevant for answering the questions  Documentation: communicating findings of the team’s investigative processes in appropriate forms for the variety of audiences likely to be concerned and engaged with each environmental challenge. We worried less about content retention than student retention at this stage, but test results suggest students retained salient content. Course evaluations are not yet in, nearing semesters’ end, but anecdotal results are encouraging and bear further examination to see if we really have whetted our students’ appetites for persisting our subject areas of study: forest management, fisheries and wildlife, natural resources and environmental technology. Structurally, the forum would (1) briefly present several potential scenarios for introductory courses, (2) break participants into groups to discuss pros and cons of approaches, and (3) facilitate a cumulative assessment of potential impacts of the approaches. Probable time commitment: 1.5 hours.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Courses/3